Christmas was a busy Christmas for me. I even worked Christmas Day for the first time in my life! However New Years Eve was the time for Matt and I to relax. We jetted off to New York on the 30th December and landed at around 4 in the afternoon. By the time we got through customs (nightmare) and unpacked at our hotel it was later in the evening so our main priority was food! We took a walk to Times Square to see them setting up for the New Years Eve celebrations. The square was bustling with people who like us were taking a nosy and there was a fantastic buzz in the air!
We headed back towards our hotel in Hell’s Kitchen to find a restaurant and ended up in one we visited last year – at least we knew it was good! Southern Hospitality is a great BBQ restaurant selling all types of meat and fried chicken. I order one of my guilty pleasures, fried chicken and waffles! Nothing can beat a salt and savory combination for me! I would also recommend the nachos that I enjoyed last time I was there.
The next morning we woke early thanks to jet lag but took the opportunity to head to a bakery in Upper West side which I had seen on Instagram earlier in the year. Levain Bakery sells some notoriously large and gooey cookies that you have to queue for. We arrived at around 9:00am to a small queue and could smell the gorgeous sweet aroma drifting out of the tiny bakery.
Once we had our cookies we headed to Central Park just three blocks away to find a pretty place to enjoy them. I can say that the cookies are definitely worth the type! They were crispy on the outside but warm and gooey on the inside.
After enjoying our cookies we slowly walked down Fifth Avenue. We came across the New York Library and had a little nosy inside (mainly because of Sex and the City!) We then went to the very festive looking Byrant Park which was home to a Christmas Market and Ice Skating Rink.
As it was New Year’s Eve we spent the afternoon enjoying a few drinks in a bar in Midtown. The bar was just one block away from Times Square so we found a table next to the window and people watched. There was already many people wearing their 2016 sparkly hats and novelty glasses. What we were most surprised at was people already queuing to enter Times Square so early in the afternoon!
After a leisurely afternoon we headed back to our hotel (for a nap) and to get ready for a night of celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Matt had made reservations at Marta, an Italian restaurant downtown. Our reservation was early and already the restaurant was full! The restaurant itself was very impressive (I wish I had taken photos). It was located in the lobby of the Martha Washington Hotel and the focal point was the open kitchen with the wood burn oven with a bar surrounding it. The decor was very modern and the food was traditionally Italian. So much so I had to Google some of the ingredients for a translation (oh the shame). We ordered Polpettine Di Pollo to share which was their very popular chicken meatball, black olives, ricotta and pizza bread. For our mains we had pizzas, I went for the Macellaio which was topped with sopressata, Guanciale, Pork sausage, Mozzarella and Grana Padano. It was possibly one of the best pizzas I ever had! For dessert we shared a range of sorbets.
After dinner Matt wanted to go and see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lit up in all its glory however the tree was switched off and the plaza was closed, so we instead headed to some bars. It wasn’t until we got to a bar that I realized I had left my ID at the hotel – nightmare! We walked back to the hotel and saw the thousands of people lining the streets to enter streets to see the ball drop at Times Square. By the time we got back to the hotel we thought it was best to walk up to Central Park where we had decided we would see in the New Year and watch the fireworks.
As midnight hit the city the cheers from Time Square could be heard echoing around the city. There was a tidal wave of cheers that came up Sixth Avenue and hit everyone in Central Park when the fireworks began. The fireworks were amazing and so was the buzz of the city. But I was in another world thanks to a very special surprise at midnight…